Sports Features of Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Source: Isaac Kyei Andoh
…but Kwesi Appiah ain’t watching.
There’s nothing disheartening and frustrating for a footballer than seeing his effort going unnoticed by his club or national team coach. For Jerry Akaminko, his hard work is yielding dividends at club level but not what presumably he wants most – national team.
Just a week or so ago, the Black Stars Trainer, released his chosen men to take on Zambia and Japan respectively.
In my estimation, the team in entirety represents almost the very best Kwesi Appiah has ever assembled though a lot more could have been done in the defensive department of the team.
Jerry Akaminko has been the most consistent Ghanaian defender abroad. He is considered one of the very best defenders in the Turkish league and has maintained a high class performance over the past 3 years.
The only crime Jerry Akaminko has committed is that he gave away a penalty against The Democratic Republic Congo at the just ended African nations Cup in a match the Black Stars were outplayed in every department.
Yes, that is where it all began, against Congo in South Africa and that is the very last time he won a place in the National team.
Personally, I find it intriguing that whereas some players are given the chances to make mistakes over and over until they improve, others are given life sentences and totally ostracized from the national team. Sitting behind my Pentium 1 putting this piece together, a few names seems to creep through my mind.
Patrick Antwi, he made an error in his first call in to the national team in a friendly against Mexico that resulted in a goal and that was the very last time he received a call into the national team and guess what, his career never reached the predicted height.
Issa Armed, affectionately called The Rock, formed one of the very best central defensive partnerships in recent memory with John Mensah, together they helped Ghana qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany but he was never there himself. His crime, his error accounted for two goals against Zimbabwe in the 2006 African Cup of Nations which eventually got the Black Stars eliminated in a tournament the team had been far from convincing due to the absence of key players like, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan. Issa Armed’s career effectively ended.
What about William Amamoo, he was tipped to be the natural replacement for Richard Kingson , but was never to be, his romance with the never team didn’t progress to marriage. His crime, he considered 3 three quick goals against Japan in a friendly match Japan and that was the end of him with the Black Stars. Samuel Osei Kufour- I can still picture his face buried in the grass of AWD-Arena after- giving a poorly calculated back pass that was intercepted and resulted in Italy scoring their second in Ghana’s first ever world cup match. He wasn’t selected for the subsequent matches and never received a call until he retired.
In all the above named circumstances, apart from probably Kuffour’s error which came when the Black Stars were looking to turn around the results, the others were simply singled out as scapegoat of generally underwhelming team performances.
Against DR Congo, the only department of the team that was keeping the Black Star from conceding was the defense. We were that under pressure that Fatau Dauda was by far our best player on that day.
Kwesi Appiah tactically got it wrong, the team failed in entirety- Jerry Akaminko was made the scapegoat.
Despite the undeserving harsh criticism, he’s still thriving and getting better at club level, a clear sign of his mental toughness as a player and every good coach knows the value of such players.
He excelled and still continues to in both central defense and right full back last season for club and that accounted for why Eskisehirspor emerged the team with the second best defense in the Turkish league last season.
On Saturday, Eskisehirspor blanked Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneider’s Galatasaray and Akaminko emerged as the second best performer to Eskisehirspor goalie Ruud Bufin by goal.com fans votes.
Objectively assess the selection of defenders for the showdown against Zambia and make your own judgment.
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa )
Your guess is as good as mine, Akaminko warrants a place in this team.
That notwithstanding, the team must come first and victory for Ghana is what we all anticipate. However, moving forward, we must do things right.